My Thoughts on ‘Pacific Rim’

My Thoughts on ‘Pacific Rim’

By Veronica Nkwocha

Pacific Rim is an apocalyptic tale from acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. It is set in a future where strange beasts called Kaijus morphed out of a fissure on the seabed at the points where the tectonic plates shift bent on the annihilation of Man. They are met in epic battles by robots called Jaegers who fight them off time after time using twin drivers as pilots, their minds locked together via a mental bridge. The Jaegers are led by General Stacker Pentecost played by Idris Elba. He wore a stern and calculating demeanour and a tenacious belief in the effectiveness of the army of Jaegers and the machinery that supported them. Would they succeed?

Pacific Rim lived up to its hype. The Jaegers were colossal yet graceful, they did what they were designed to do; battle like warriors. The Kaijus were the object of the fight but the real enemy lay behind the scenes. The portal was a signal to another world which Man should have been striving to target from the start but as in life, a lot of energy was expended on the visible threat rather than what lay underneath, growing, transforming and near overwhelming earth. Every bolt, every screw, even the chips in the paint, the rusting hulk of the machinery even as the Jaegers were nearly being retired was shown with crisp cinematography.

I particularly liked the progression of the story, it was fluid up till the final climax where the final battle was fought deep within the waters of the ocean. I did wonder what happened to most of the sea life though, they seemed to have made a massive retreat in anticipation of the chaotic mangling in their front yard.

The choice of Jaegers as the proper fighting tool against the Kaijus was fun to watch and made the movie but why would the weapon of choice be a wrestling bout rather than a far off attack using long range missiles? Pacific Rim allowed us witness the heaving and trashing of ‘gladiators’ as they duelled, some to their death, a fascination of Man since time immemorial. We have come a long way from the days when all we had were two men in a ring fighting for a cheering audience. Today, we have robots the size of the’ Statue of Liberty’ and Kaijus the size of ‘tower blocks’, the arena we all sit around are cinemas, popcorn in hand satisfying a craving for duel as long as we are not in the thick of it.

Andre Rieu’s 2013 Maastricht Concert at a Cinema Near You

The much anticipated Andre Rieu’s Maastricht Concert 2013 holds 12-14th July at the Vrijthof square in his hometown Maastricht. They are yearly traditional summer evening concerts where the square is transformed into a ‘grand romantic open air concert hall’ . Those unable to attend can watch the concert ‘live’ at cinemas across the world on 13th July. You can find a cinema near you on CinemaLive.

Andre Rieu has been described as the Waltz King. Fusing traditional classical music with contemporary verve, the Johann Strauss Orchestra are pacesetters in tapping into the spirit of the times. They  have carved a niche for themselves and  have become hugely successful in reaching a vast number of music lovers of diverse backgrounds.

Here’s a small sampling of their work which I greatly admire.

With the Harlem Gospel Choir and the Soweto Gospel Choir Live in Maastricht 2011 (Amen)

Amazing Grace

Auld Lang Syne

Words for Auld Lang Syne (Poem by Robert Burns in 1788)

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.

On Old long syne my Jo,
On Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On Old long syne.

 Enjoy ‘Live in Maastricht’!

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Miracle by Tope Folarin Wins the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013

Caine Prize

Caine Prize (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miracle by Tope Folarin Wins the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013

By Veronica Nkwocha

Two words, ‘Tope Folarin’ tweeted by @CainePrize at 10:20 PM on 8 July 2013 cut through the tense wait of thousands of lovers of literature. It proclaimed ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012) as the winning entry for the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013.

A well-crafted story, ‘Miracle’ shows an attention to detail that takes the reader on a panoramic journey into the scene where it all played out. The underlying satire was well nuanced and nudges the reader to hover between viewing it as a legitimate experience or a mocking condescending piece (See No.2 ‘Renounce Your Faith). The latter was tempered with the apparent youth of the main character plus a sensitive portrayal and the former, seared-in with the excellent storytelling.

There were some unforgettable quotes, e.g.

“We need jobs. We need good grades. We need green cards. We need American passports. We need our parents to understand that we are Americans. We need our children to understand they are Nigerians”.

The highlighted words bring life to the unconscious struggle between two generations uprooted from a faraway homeland; a typical experience in the diaspora normally shrouded from view, the coming together constantly at tenterhooks.  Tope Folarin has spoken of his experience as an African born and raised in America, the effects of the community in diaspora recreating their roots in their new homeland and how it influenced his writing. A detailed interview appears on Brittle Paper.

From the Caine Prize Website;

“…the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice and will be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September.”

Hearty congratulations to Tope Folarin, the fourteenth winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. We wish him all the best and look forward to reading more of his work.

The Nigerian Nostalgia Project – Facebook

File:Ancient Benin city.JPG

Do you love history? Not the long winded drone of a stifling hot afternoon of class with the four walls closing in (okay, for some maybe not just History but all subjects!).

There’s ‘The Nigerian Nostalgia Project’ on Facebook. It provides compact, highly visual and informative history lessons by way of old photographs properly captioned and a conversation as people from diverse backgrounds comment and sometimes have hearty debates on the issues surrounding the subject. They can get lively so be warned, it may start from the benign to the controversial and can feel like one is on a roller coaster but it all serves to drive home important lessons of the old days including context, hindsight and a struggle/conflict in attempting to visualise the past using today’s eyes. Ethnic rivalries rise to the fore and simmer and handshakes form across ‘ancient’ miles as today’s youth (and sometimes participants of history from the recent past!) come together via the comment box, lingering, sizing one another up, gladiators in a timeless conflict and then as brothers as they find their common humanity.

I recommend the Nigerian Nostalgia Project, it is a treasure trove of photos of the past. Their greatest arsenal are the everyday people who post photos of life as it happened for normal day to day people, interwoven with photos of milestones as history turned in pivotal and candescent points. All of them important as the puzzle of the time period is put together for the next generation lovingly and reverently by the ‘children’ of the subjects working together in ways that would surprise the sleeping progenitors, could they see, from the dusk of their time.

*Image of Ancient Benin City from here  D. O. Dapper, 1668 Description de l’Afrique . . . Traduite du Flamand (Amsterdam,1686; 1st ed., 1668), between pp. 320-21. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-30841) Public Domain

Best of Luck to the Authors in the Caine Prize Shortlist 2013

Best of Luck to the Authors in the Caine Prize Shortlist 2013

By Veronica Nkwocha

*Update: ‘Miracle’ by Tope Folarin has won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing! Congratulations and we wish him all the best.

I’ve enjoyed reading the Caine Prize shortlist this past month. My reviews have been from the perspective of a reader more focused on the story, than the flaws on the storytelling (I highlighted a few), although I acknowledge that the quality of the telling does mar or make the story. Most important to me was its integrity and believability, and whether the words formed into themselves, until they became a symbiotic whole, like one thriving and living organism.

When I joined the ‘blog carnival’ per Aaron Bady, I only knew of Elnathan John as I had read his blog in the past and admire his writing; ‘Bayan Layi’ drew me into the tale. I realised later that a short story ‘Runs Girl’ I had recently discovered and enjoyed immensely was written by Chinelo Okparanta; her ‘America’ was confident and intuitive. I’m better for discovering the cheeky wit that came across like an undercurrent from the telling of the character in ‘Miracle’ of Tope Folarin, the gregarious but pugnacious confidence of ‘Logan’ in ‘Foreign Aid’ per Pedi Hollist and the lyrical sweetness of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim‘s ‘The Whispering Trees’. I look forward to reading more of their work in the future and wish them all the best on the 8th of July when the prize is announced. I have my favourites but I believe they are all deserving as each one brought something different that adds to the discourse and the enjoyment of today’s literature.

The criticism of the ‘one-dimensional’ aspect of the ‘Caine Prize Story‘ is a challenge to writers to write a wide variety of stories, a lot of them already do so. It’s an even bigger challenge to publishers, prizes etc. but the solution is not to squash the stories of ‘poverty porn’ as some describe it. An increase in the number of publishers and prizes should allow the ‘African Story‘ rise beyond the pull between two extremes; each valid and each vital, begging to be told.

Baby Ane (Short Story)

Various antique to modern Black dolls from the...


Baby Ane 

By Veronica Nkwocha

Ane stirred the dough half asleep and lost in thought. She rubbed one eye and continued the round and round movement increasing her motion when she saw her mum Ela walk in. It was almost dawn. Someone dragged a metal bucket across the cement floor, its scratching sound jarred her to a permanent wakefulness, she stood up from the three legged stool. All around her, the sounds of morning rituals hummed like a faraway thought intruding into the tranquil silence that greeted her an hour earlier. It was as if her neighbours in the set of rooms spread out like a square box, their doors facing the middle courtyard were being chased by an invisible task master.

Across from her, Mama Ezinne smacked her only child lightly across the bottom,

“Hurry now, go brush your teeth den bath before dem full everywhere. I no wan late.”

Ezinne, seven and perpetually tardy dragged her feet and her mother sighed in exasperation. She didn’t want to miss the earliest bus to her shop. Johnny the barber swung the metal bucket as he returned from the communal bathroom.

“Fine fine Ezinne, ya mama say make you quick, no waste time you hear? Mama Ezinne e do, no beat am again, I don talk to am.”

“Morning o my brother, I greet o.”

Ela clapped her hands soundlessly and squeezed her face. She whispered to Ane,

“See that shameless woman, dey talk to man wey tie only towel this early mor mor. Na so, next thing na to carry belle mtcheew.”

Ane stirred furiously, angry with her mother but she looked away to hide her feelings.

Mama Ezinne called from across her front door,

“Mama Ane, good morning, abeg when the puff puff ready, send Ane, I go give you the money when I return from shop.”

“Good morning my sister” Ela answered with a beaming smile, “no problem o.”

She lowered her tone and spoke to Ane,

“Her lazy pikin no fit come collect am abi? No go anywhere, when dey ready, dem go come collect am.”

“But mama, we need their market, what if we end up not selling everything?”

“Dey speak your oyibo dere, ‘What if we end up not selling everything’”, she mimicked with a nasal tone.

Ane stirred. The dough was coming along nicely. She sat next to the fire as her mother scooped tennis ball sizes from the large vat and tossed them in the pan of oil. They sizzled and began to puff. She picked up a few once they were ready and wrapped them in paper and made to hurry towards Ezinne who had just returned from her bath and was entering their rooms. Her mother shrieked.

“Abi craze dey worry you? Sit down there!”

She sat, on the three legged stool, one cheek of her bottom at a funny angle. She daintily tucked her school uniform underneath her and put the puff puff back with the others that were slowly building up in the tray.

“Ane! Ane!!” Mama Ezinne called from across the room.

She pretended she was stirring the vat of dough.

“Send ya pickin. Ane never finish, no vex abeg”, Ela replied.

Ezinne dashed across hopping, her hair uncombed, and one of her sandals missing.

She smiled at Ezinne who smiled back, both of them wearing wide grins.

“Morning ma, morning sis Ane”, she said hopping wildly bearing the food in her small hands.

She tripped over as the sandal came off in her hurry to get back and fell flat spilling the puff puff on the bare cracked cemented floor. She began to cry as the sand coated them like a sprinkling of sugar.

Johnny, now dressed rushed across and helped her up as Ela and Ane crowded around her.

“No worry my pikin, Ane abeg bring another one for dem. I go pay. No cry Ezinne.” He consoled her escorting her to her mother’s room once Ane had given him the replacement.

“This ashawo, hey! See as the man just enter their room piam! Papa Ezinne, where you dey oh, my eye no fit see dis kain nyama nyama.”

“Mummy, I’m almost late. See you later”, she whispered overwhelmed by a creeping feeling of claustrophobia.

“See you later my dear. You don pack your own?”

“Yes ma”, she answered sliding out the single main entrance worried her mother might change her mind and assign one more task.

He was out almost immediately, whistling as he passed by Ela.

“God bless your market my brother”, she said watching him from the corner of her eye as she arranged her merchandise in a display case, the glass steaming with the warm buns.

“You too my sister, you do well.” He answered a jaunty spring in his step.

She stared at him wistfully, her look lingering for longer than socially appropriate.

Mama Ezinne watched the interaction and smiled. Ela was a widow. Maybe she could play matchmaker. Johnny was also a widower, his children grown. Her husband would return from his job as a long-haul truck driver later in the day and she could conscript him into helping these two.

She hurried off with Ezinne who was shedding like leaves from a dried up tree in the harmattan breeze. The clasp of her school bag became undone as she tried to put the strap across her chest like a sling. It turned upside down and the contents fell, first an exercise book, some sheets of paper then a text book. She didn’t notice and carried on walking until her pens and rulers clattered to the ground. Mother and daughter turned to pick them up, the former scolding loudly.

Ela’s disgust was in full gear now. They were blocking the entrance and she was running late for the vantage spot where her puff-puff usually disappeared quickly, gobbled up by workmen on their way to their day labourer jobs. She hissed and exclaimed,

“Ah mama Ezinne, this your pickin too lazy mtcheew! Dey do like Agric fowl wey wan faint. Abeg shift make I pass.”

“Who you dey insult? Eh? You dey craze!”

“Who dey craze”? Ela quickly retorted.

Ane almost ran smack into the two women, she had forgotten her transport fare and was rushing back to pick it up.

“Mummy, is enough!” Ane shouted.

“You dey insult me, your mother?”

“Mama Ezinne, what is it now?” Ane asked.

“No vex Ane my daughter, your mother just dey insult me and Ezinne, wetin we do you?”

Before Ane could answer, her mother grabbed her ears and pulled her along exiting the building.

“Mummy”, she said in tears, “why are you so terrible to these people? Wait, I have something to tell you” she said pulling away and wringing her hands.

They were under the mango tree adjacent to the building. Ezinne and her mother disappeared from sight chasing after a bus that barely stopped.

John rushed out of his shop which was a room at the side of the building.

“Mama Ezinne, you forgot to drop the key for your husband.”

He ran towards her and collected it and went back into his shop.

Elahi put down the display case she had on her head a minute earlier.

“Mummy, these people paid my WAEC fees. Mama Ezinne and her husband saw me crying one day about the problem and decided to help. I begged them not to tell you because I was ashamed. I knew you didn’t have money and I lied that a charity decided to help those who were struggling. Even the rent that landlord said they didn’t increase for our room because we are long time tenants is a lie, they contributed together with bro John to make the balance. Bro John is Mama Ezinne’s relative not her boyfriend. They’re new in the building maybe that’s why you didn’t know all these.”

“Chei!” Ela exclaimed putting both hands on her head.

“I have to go now, I’m already late for school.”

Ela had tears in her eyes. She went about the business of selling her wares with a long face.

“Smile Jesus loves you” a stranger called across to her from a passing vehicle.

She sold everything and stopped to pick up some supplies for the following day’s buns. She added some fruits and a small doll with a pretty pink dress.

Ane was at home when she walked in.

“Ane, abeg help me go and greet Mama Ezinne, say you don tell me everything. I go come greet am myself, make I bath first. Please my daughter, okay?”

Ezinne and Ane were looking through a pile of socks wrapped in cellophane paper when Ela knocked. Mama Ezinne let her in and sat down.

A repentant Ela began in a tremulous voice,

“Forgive me Mama Ezinne, e get as this life be. Person wey be my help na so I come dey throw way, devil come dey cover my eye. Thank you my sister, na God go reward you.”

“See this your daughter Ane, good heart. Just exercise patience, you hear? I know say e no easy. Only you, two children already dey for boarding house for secondary school plus Ane. E no go tey dem go grow for you by God’s grace.”

“Amen my sister. Ezinne, come here, you be better pikin you hear? See wetin I bring for you” she said passing on the presents.

Ezinne turned to look at her mum who nodded.

“See my doll baby” she said excited.

She and Ane started fussing over the clothes and the miniature shoes and fiddling with her tightly coiled hair.

The two women smiled. Mama Ezinne cut up the fruit and they shared laughing as Ezinne tried to feed the new addition to the family whom cheekily she named, baby Ane.

Image from here: © Debbie Behan Garrett Various antique to modern Black dolls in my collection/  / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Dusk’s New Dawn (Short Story)

Abuja Dusk

Abuja Dusk (Photo credit: Jeff Attaway)

Dusk’s New Dawn

By Veronica Nkwocha

Dapper. He stood out like a mannequin had just come to life, its perfect proportions in a fluid movement that made her want to dance to his rhythm. She spied from the corner of her eyes and saw he was wearing the ‘Oswald Boateng’ that had caught her eye at the last fashion event she attended in Ikoyi; where perfectly coiffed women walked nose in the air, their handbags dangling delicately from wrists upturned.

He stood at the doorway of the Hilton, Abuja and she realised in a slight panic that he was probably waiting for his driver. She had only a few moments to make her move. She stood up from the comfortable chair at the lounge and dropped her braids from its band shaking them loose. She tugged her blouse as she walked towards him and was pleased that her jade beads nestled perfectly just above the cleavage, hinting not obvious.

She stood next to him at the crowded entrance and pretended she was waiting for her car, then stretched looking around the corner. She stumbled as though her six inch heels had caught where the marble joined. He reached out to break her fall and her heart winked at his chivalry.

“I beg your pardon” he said apologising as he let go of her waist. Her eyes would do the rest. They looked into his, wide and imploring.

“So, so sorry, I shouldn’t have worn these sandals”, she said delicately angling her feet. She had never been prouder of the lady who did her pedicure. The sandals were ornamented with the same jade beads in a yellow rope twist, a thin line encircled as if she was wearing an anklet.

He stared.

“Bingo”, she whispered silently.

“Hi, I’m Uzoma.”

“I’m Mary.”

“Pleased to meet you”, they exchanged, smiling.

It seemed like years ago. That day three years ago when he couldn’t stop looking at her. Her caramel skin soft as silk he almost reached out and touched it. They parted, him with a vice like grip on her bb pin number. He memorised it.

He was surrounded by mannequins fitting their garments to show their best features when she walked in the next day bearing sushi from Uptown Asian Cuisine; their shared love discovered on that long phone call when they couldn’t stop chatting. They had lunch in his studio, he moved the clutter so she could sit and he was glad she didn’t mind.

Their love story began, a gentle drift. A lovingly crafted paper boat set to sail on calm waters floating tenderly away from the beach, both of them oblivious to the oncoming sogginess.

“Oh Mary”, he whispered.

She was the sassy and sparkly diamond that lit up his life from a darkening limbo when she interjected herself into it, her jade pendant drawing him in to her heady sweetness.

He sat on the bench fleeing from another argument, puffed on the inside filled up with her constant dribble; “cloying, needy and self-righteous to boot”, he muttered.

He didn’t very much care for her preening perfection anymore. He sat in the garden staring at nothing, his appearance was of one fixated on something afar off, his gaze and his back, rigid. He exhaled allowing the garden and setting sun to wash over him, their beauty tempering his insides and calming the annoyance that he had allowed consume him earlier. The evening breeze felt cool, their caress softened his thoughts and his eyes smarted with unshed tears; he was sorry for hurting her and he would forgive her again. And again, as always. But it left him empty inside.

They fought over the most mundane things now; whether the newscaster’s blouse was purple or lilac, whether the Governor of a particular state was worse in his stealing of public funds than his predecessor, whether he was falling out of love with her because he didn’t notice her new hairstyle.

He would rather stay in his study, a tiny building at the back of their garden creating ‘masterpieces’, designing clothes and visualising fabrics doing things that only he could make them do. He won the ‘most likely to succeed’ at design school after all. Or be at the orphanage on the other side of town, sharing his skills with the army of eager children gently encouraging them which he did unfailingly once a week.

He would much prefer to hang out with his best mates whom he had known from his ‘A Level’ days when he was fresh out of Nigeria exploring London and then graduating from university five years later. They spent the subsequent three years battling to break into the fashion world as the next big thing. The days when Claudette who was first his best friend and then his fiancée, Japheth and O’Neal and him would pub hop and attend fashion soirees and tease their innards with strange recipes from a hundred restaurants. They would traipse Paris savouring the food and allow themselves get steeped in the language, Claudie urging them on to perfection.

He remembered those days as the most he had laughed, everything excited them; they were on the brink of something new and fresh, suffused with hope. But Claudette had died of stomach cancer. It was sudden and quick and in his brokenness, he had thought to move away from everything that reminded him of her and moved back home to Abuja as one of a large wave of returnees. He had invested the pay-out from her life insurance in a smart studio and show room hoping to ride the tide of the burgeoning entertainment industry and capital city oil wealth but it had petered away. A gaping hole of overheads ate away at the substance until there was nothing left, leaving him a shell of his former boisterous self.

Mary’s face had the pinched look of extreme disappointment. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ was her current most favourite phrase. Her friends would laugh at one of her many jokes peppered with the phrase but for her it had a deeper meaning. Uzoma. She kept the pretence of a happy thriving home but hated the inside. Nothing was ever right lately, she couldn’t put her finger on it. As though something big was about to happen. Maybe it was the increasing number of fights or the silences and the emptiness on his side of the bed night after night. His excuse for holing away in the study was always another inspiration for designs that died a putative thread in an unending maze.

‘What was he up to, how did she get into this mess?’ The ‘why’ was like a tail that just kept tagging along, wagging and nudging her mind into a niggling that carried on unabated, she became a detective prying through his things. She didn’t like what she found.

Uzoma was planning to leave her. Not only was he a failure and a disappointment, he actually had the gall to shame her. How else would one explain the letter accepting him into a program with a designer in France? He knew very well she couldn’t afford to resign her top job and leave Nigeria for the time it would take for him to complete the program, and in a country where she didn’t even speak the language.

For a moment she paused enraged at his lack of feeling, his disappearing into a world she just couldn’t enter. It happened constantly, he would lapse into French when angry and hold monologues. Once he ignored her and carried on for at least five minutes speaking to himself. She gave him her back and was initially bent over in anger over the piano stool. Then she thought to record his litany on her phone.

She took the recording to a friend’s friend who spoke French and the translation broke her heart. “Why won’t she leave me alone? Let me be. Go on with you pretentious ways and leave me to my failures ‘madam image over substance’.”

What saddened her the most was his ungratefulness, ‘Image over substance’? He was the one without substance she fumed. She had married him when all he had were his good looks, a talent in creative design and ties to a rich uncle who couldn’t be bothered to have a relationship with them. If only she had known his business was on its death throes. All she got was a fancy wedding, the uncle’s famous last name which had all her friends swooning in envy and that was it! No connections or contacts or even further visits to or from the government Minister. They had been forgotten by Uzoma’s late father’s older brother in a land of pedigrees and cronyisms. She had married beneath her station blinded by love she fumed, and then she was contrite seconds later, a shamefaced smallness for being so shallow.

Still she thought, rekindling her anger, she should be the one seeking to extricate herself from the mess. She would be better off without him, carry on without the sad puppy look Uzoma wore she was sure, to annoy her. She lit up with expectation. If he left for France, it would be the perfect excuse to still have the air of a respectable married woman without the appendage of duty that weighed her down. It had chipped away at her initial obsessive love until there was almost nothing left to cling to, leaving her empty.

“Uzoma”, she called as she hurried to the garden.

He turned to look at her. She stopped suddenly transfixed by the sunset, she put her hand on his shoulder to steady herself. He put his hands over hers and he rose from the bench and drew her to him. He cuddled her close. She looked at him as the light bathed his face and she felt his pain. He sighed.

‘This man’, she thought to herself, there was something about him that melted her insides. She wanted to wipe his hurt away, to make things better. He didn’t speak of it but she saw it with sudden clarity as he drank in the glow of evening.

She put her head on his shoulder and they stood until the sun sank slowly from sight, the orange and gold hues embraced white brilliant clouds lingering for a while and then fading into greys and a deepening dark blue.

They walked into the house and sat, knit together.

He started,

“Mary, I know I haven’t been easy to live with. I suppose in failing, I have allowed myself stay down and hurt you in the process. Thank you so much for holding us together. For working so hard for both of us. All I ask is that you bear with me a little longer inugo? Please my love?”

“You know what honey, what are we if not imperfect? Yes, I’ve been upset, confused, hurt by your withdrawal. I’ve said things in anger and have been focused more on the things that are wrong in our relationship rather than see how we can work through this.” She said clutching at the ring of hope she heard in his voice.

“Here’s my surprise. I acted on impulse and applied for a program in France and was accepted but I turned it down. I also sent in a portfolio for the remaking of the bestselling movie ‘King Ramses Temple’ and it’s a shoe-in to my amazement.  So we will be busy in preparation for the shoot which starts in six months. It’s a dream come true.”

“That’s fantastic, I’m happy for you. Happy that you are getting the recognition you deserve cos you’ve worked hard for this. I do love you Uzoma.”

“I love you my angel”, he kissed her, his breath grazing against the jade beads nestling in the dark.